www.JazzReview.com Calls CONCEPTUAL RHYTHM a TROPHY!!
"Drummer, composer, and bandleader Chris Olsen hands us a trophy with Conceptual Rhythm ... borders on brilliance ... includes a fantastic drum solo from the leader ... soloing between the horns is amazing ... genuine and truly exquisite with a great amount of healing emotion."
www.eJazzNews.com says CONCEPTUAL RHYTHM BATTLES UNSEEN DEMONS!
"A journey of exploration and discovery … conceptual and driven from the soul ... music of emotional imagery that is performed masterfully.”
Read the full reviews below...
"BREATHTAKING" and "UNEXPECTED" are two of the first raves to describe Chris Olsen’s Conceptual Rhythm, and for many, this will be an introduction to The Healing Path of Jazz and Liberation.
Conceptual Rhythm is an experimental free jazz narrative of courage and hope, featuring deep, searching improvisations that explore both tragedy and victory.
Chris Olsen: drums and percussion
Phil Haynes: drums and percussion
Herb Robertson: trumpet and fluegelhorn
Sean Parker: alto clarinet
Steve Geller: bass
Jim Yanda: guitar
This music, originally created for use in a haunting short film called FUR, tells the story of a young Brooklyn girl enduring her stepfather’s sexual abuse. We follow 12-year-old Rose as she collects pelts from road-killed animals on the streets of Coney Island and sews them into a grotesque mask. With this, she impresses the proprietor of the boardwalk freak show with which she is fascinated — and to which, in her upside-down world, she directly relates.
Having won the approval of this peculiar role model, Rose continues her pelt work with the ultimate goal of ending her stepfather’s abuse. As the film closes Rose stands at a painful threshold, turning from victim to victor, and watching as the rising sun mirrors her anguish, uncertainty, and hope.
Though the story is fictitious, the facts are entirely too real. In the U.S. alone, an average of nearly 1,000,000 children are abused or neglected each year. Nearly 75% of these victims are under the age of 12. At such a rate, the physical, sexual, and psychological abuse of children is pandemic, a desperately out-of-control and unfathomable crime against the most vulnerable among us.
Proceeds from the sale of Conceptual Rhythm will benefit organizations working to stop child abuse and domestic violence. I have selected two charities to receive donations from this CD: The Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation (www.JoeTorre.org) for getting trained counselors into New York City and New Jersey schools through their Margaret's Place initiative, and The American Humane Association (www.AmericanHumane.org) for working to prevent the abuse and neglect of children AND animals for 130 years.
Your CD and download purchases add to the total every day, and this will be an ongoing effort as long as people continue to buy this healing music. Thank you for your generous support of this vitally important mission.
Chris Olsen is a musician with a vision. With the drums as his compass, he has been mapping the Healing Path of Jazz and Liberation for three decades. Along the way he has performed and recorded with a host of talented jazz, pop, and rock artists; scored the indie film, FUR, with his sextet Conceptual Rhythm; and shone as a journalist and educator at Drum Tracks magazine.
Chris Olsen plays drumset, chimes, bells, gongs, congas, bongos, dumbek, djembe, adufe, udu, rattles, shakers, tea kettles, silkscreens, metal pipes, paper bags, baby toys, hand claps, and belly laughs.
Chris has performed and/or recorded with the following artists:
Chris Olsen's Conceptual Rhythm featuring Herb Robertson, Phil Haynes, Sean Parker, Jim Yanda, and Steve Geller
Sean Parker / Periscope
Tomchess / Bombpop
Rags to Riches
Tony Alexander's One World
The Suffolk County Festival Orchestra
St. James Saints Drum & Bugle Corps
www.JazzReview.com CALLS CONCEPTUAL RHYTHM A TROPHY!!
Drummer, composer, and band-leader Chris Olsen hands us a trophy with Conceptual Rhythm; original free jazz material assembled by a highly skilled line-up. The artists here use freshly delicate and shaded sound nuances that border on brilliance. The album’s music was originally created for FUR, a short film that tells the story of Rose, a Brooklyn girl who excels in her original pelt work with the ultimate goal of ending her stepfather’s sexual abuses. Rose eventually overcomes her grief and turns from victim to victor. Therefore, the opus hereby is grievously mirthful and celebrates the survivors of domestic violence, dignifying those still struggling for their freedom. Profits from the sale of this CD will benefit organizations working to stop domestic violence and child abuse.
The album contains a seventeen-part suite beginning with a joyless rhythm of strings and cymbals, dramatized with a poignant trumpet phrase. On “Roadkill Spirits”, Olsen and Haynes’s percussion bell with sorrowful paces while Robertson leads us into a quiet improvisation. The music collides into bluesy Jim Yanda guitar lines and frenzied Haynes and Olsen cymbal work-outs, then into elegant Sean Parker’s alto clarinet improvisations, impressive Steve Geller bass ostinatos and Herb Robertson’s wounded trumpet sounds. Their counterpoint is advanced on improvisational musical concepts.
“Only When It’s Dark and Still” is the most tonal sounding piece on the record. It features delicate guitar playing and metered bass responses. Robertson/Parker/Geller’s trumpet/clarinet/bass exchange opens “Sculptchawitcha” until the rest of the band gradually enters to progress from soaring spaces to a minimalist soundscape. “A Dark and…” is a remarkable piece which includes a fantastic drum solo from the leader and beautiful clarinet/trumpet duos coupled with powerful bass lines. It also displays a supple and modulated drum-percussion section that shifts from improv patterns to avant-garde jazz. “Many Footsteps Remain” closes the album on cherubic notes: the horns in extended techniques, laconic beats, shaded cymbals, simple bass ostinato, counterpoint, and a soft theme. The soloing between the horns is amazing.
This release holds an array of complex music. Nonetheless it is also genuine and truly exquisite with a great amount of healing emotion. This album will give a worthy audience to a multi-talented artist like Chris Olsen.
www.eJazzNews.com says CONCEPTUAL RHYTHM BATTLES UNSEEN DEMONS!
Chris Olsen’s debut album Conceptual Rhythm is also his debut soundtrack recording to a film entitled Fur, a 1997 award-winning short film from artist and filmmaker Shari Rothfarb. The film centres on a twelve-year-old girl who is abused by her stepfather; she finds empowerment through the collection of pelts taken from roadkill animals. Mr. Olsen and company do well to create a musical background that manages to stand out as a journey of exploration and discovery. Music that is ambient, music that is free form, yet at times melodic, conceptual and driven from the soul. This is music of emotional imagery that is performed masterfully.
Chris Olsen is a drummer, percussionist, composer and free jazz exponent who guides his band mates through some dark territory on this image-evoking soundtrack. The recording is comprised of seventeen tracks, most are very short, the longest tune “Many Footsteps Remain” is just under seven minutes, it’s also the final song of the album, the complete CD is over in just under forty minutes.
The recording, through the use of various sounds, emanating from familiar sounding instruments, creates varied states of mind for the listener. At times you sense psychological trauma, as in the opening track “Rose’s Theme,” sounds of confusion, turmoil and fear are all evident. Some of the more intense sounds capture an emotion of pain and paint a portrait in the listener’s mind of a very bleak and troubling existence as in the track entitled “It Must Be All That Coffee.” On the song “What Died In Here?” trumpeter, Robertson and Parker playing an alto clarinet perform a duet charged with emotion, from humorous sounding groans of disgust through to seriously grave concerns.
The finale “Many Footsteps Remain” starts tentatively, somber percussive probing, eerie howling and nervous tension that develop into a funeral march, with clarinetist Sean Parker and trumpeter Herb Robertson complimenting each other through a call and response, while the drummers, Olsen and Phil Haynes battle unseen demons in double time. The strings, bassist Steve Geller and guitarist Jim Yanda, punctuate this eerie rhythm backdrop that gives way in the end to a feeling of hope and serenity as we fade through a closing bell.
Review by Paul J. Youngman - KJA Jazz Advocate - eJazzNews.com